In 2005, Keyshia Cole burst onto the scene with her debut album, The Way It Us. The album was a sensation, selling over 1.6 million albums and certifying platinum within just 25 weeks of its release. Since then, she’s released six more hugely successful studio albums, picking up numerous awards, top ten singles, and acclaim in the process. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Keyshia Cole songs of all time.
10. You Complete Me
Kicking off our list of the 10 best Keyshia Cole songs of all time is You Complete Me, a sultry piece of R&B with a gorgeous vocal performance from Cole and an irresistible rhythm. Released as the second single from Cole’s third studio album, A Different Me, it became her fifteenth chart entry on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 62. It also climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The video was just as dynamite as the song, earning a place at No. 21 on BET’s Notarized: Top 100 Videos of 2009 list.
9. I Remember
Next up is I Remember, a co-written composition from Cole and Gregory G. Curtis, who also produces the song. Released in 2007 as the third single from Cole’s second album, Just Like You, it was a commercial success, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track was later covered by singer Mica Paris on her 2009 album Born Again. Even Aretha Franklin couldn’t resist its attractions, performing it live in both 2008 and 2014.
In 2017, Cole teamed up with Remy Ma and French Montana for You. It was a critical success, with Rap-Up declaring “KC is back” and The Fader calling it a “liberating anthem” and “perfect for the moment when you’ve reached a turning point in a relationship and decide that you deserve better.” Buoyed by Cole’s candied vocals and an infectious beat, the song climbed to No. 19 on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs.
Original recorded as an iTunes pre-order bonus song for Cole’s second studio album, Just Like You, Trust gained a bigger audience when it was re-recorded as a duet with R&B star Monica for the album’s follow-up, A Different Me. Released as the album’s third single in April 2009, it peaked at No. 5 on the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs and No. 70 on the Hot 100, becoming Cole’s highest-charting single from the album.
6. I Should Have Cheated
Cole has always had a knack for kiss-off anthems, and in 2005, she pulled a classic out of the bag with I Should Have Cheated. Released as the third single from her debut album, The Way It Is, it was a huge urban hit, peaking at No. 4 in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 11 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. Later that year, she achieved international acclaim for her performance of the song at the 2005 Vibe Awards, which Rated R&B described as “ghetto fabulous” enough to gain head nods from “her hip-hop soul mother” Mary J. Blige.
5. Love, I Thought You Had My Back
Described by ratedrnb.com as one of Keyshia Cole’s most underrated songs, Love, I Thought You Had My Back finds Cole holding love to account for not keeping up its side of the bargain after the end of her latest relationship. Keen to pass on what she’s learned, she wraps up by telling listeners who are still chasing the elusive happy ever after: “You gotta know your focus in life / And if love is your focus /Then man pay attention.”
Cole’s debut album isn’t short on classic tunes, but Love might well be one of the biggest. Released as the fourth single of the album in January 2006, it debuted at a disappointing No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 but gradually gained momentum, eventually climbing up the chart to No. 19. It’s since been certified platinum by the RIAA. In December 2019, rapper O.T. Genasis reworked the song under a new title of Never Knew, much to the chagrin of Cole, who refused to give it her stamp of approval and said “I would like my classics to be left alone.” She has a point.
3. Shoulda Let You Go
Cole excels at engaging, pop-savvy R&B, and in 2007, she dished out another serving in the form of Shoulda Let You Go. With some stellar support from rapper Amina Harris, the song proved one of the highlights of Cole’s second studio album, Just Like You – not to mention one of its biggest commercial successes. On its release, it climbed to No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on the Hot R&B / Hip-Hop Songs chart. It also charted in the top 40 in Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
2. Let It Go
Written alongside Jack Knight, Cainon Lamb, Lil’ Kim, and Missy Elliott, Let It Go was released in July 2007 as the lead single from Cole’s second studio album, Just Like You. An uptempo number featuring samples from Juicy Fruit by Mtume and Don’t Stop the Music by Yarbrough and Peoples, it became Cole’s first top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 7. As much of a critical success as a commercial one, it picked up a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap/ Sung Collaboration and placed at No. 59 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007. It’s since sold over 2 million copies in the US alone and been certified platinum by the RIAA.
1. Heaven Sent
Written by Cole, Jason Farmer, Alex Francis, and Lamont Wilson, with both Francis and Farmer also overseeing production, Heaven Sent enjoyed both critical and commercial success on its release. Issued as the final single from Cole’s second studio album, Just Like You, it spent an impressive nine weeks at the top of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, becoming Cole’s third No. 1 on the chart. It also climbed to No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and picked up two Grammy nominations for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.